Entrepreneur Lalita Nijhawan exposes the Maoist modus operandi in urban areas to garner ideological support from intellectuals and academicians.
Lalita Nijhawan, a multifaceted woman entrepreneur, has been extensively supporting the academic debates on the issue of “Urban Naxalism”. She leads a travel conglomerate and owns Nijhawan Group of Companies which has diverse business modules across the country. Nijhawan tells The Sunday Guardian how “vulture politics” around caste, secessionism and nationalism drove her to form the Group of Intellectuals and Academics (GIA), a women’s forum working towards creating a nationalist intellectual space in the country. Excerpts:
Q: GIA has been organising seminars and debates on the Urban Naxal issue. According to you, how big is this Naxal problem for the country?
A: GIA is a forum of professional and expressive women that took shape in 2015, to question the hypocritical and exclusionary intellectual space claimed by a certain group. It came into being amidst a rhetoric and hysteric atmosphere created by anti-national campaigns in the country. The GIA team includes a Presidential awardee, pro-vice chancellors, noted mountaineers, dancers of international fame, senior advocates, university teachers, journalists and entrepreneurs. We conduct monthly seminars on vital current issues, publications, press conferences, marches and public signature campaigns to draw the attention of the society towards the vulture politics around caste, secessionism and nationalism.
We take these issues to concerned authorities and, on the basis of our fact-finding reports, we try to convince the governments to make changes in their policies. The GIA takes up different issues which ails the country. Urban Naxalism is just one of them but there are other issues too which the GIA has worked on. These issues include Jisha case, Triple Talaq, Kathua case, nationalism, women empowerment, exposing the anti-national hate-monger brigade, etc.
Q: Do you think “Urban Naxalism” is not just a phrase but a real threat to the internal security of the country?
A: Of course it is not just a phrase but a real threat to our internal security. The latest government data shows that 90 districts of the country are currently Naxal affected. All these districts fall within rural areas with extreme levels of poverty and total lack of development. But their modus operandi in urban areas is a part of the Maoist strategy that has extensively been detailed and documented in the “Strategies and Tactics” document of the central committee of Communist Party of India (Maoist). This is the phenomenon of Urban Naxalism which is defined as the Maoist Naxal network of Left-wing intellectuals and students present in the universities, cultural organisations and civil society networks in towns and cities.
Q: Do you think that Naxalism is still alive due to the ideological support it’s getting from the Urban Naxals sitting in the metropolitan cities?
A: As discussed above, Naxalism is the real threat to our internal security and Urban Naxalism is nothing but the backbone of Naxalism. Without that ideological support, it is not possible for anyone to go against the sovereignty and integrity of a nation to this extent.
Q: What inspired you to set up GIA? What are the works done by the group in the recent past?
A: For past few years, we all are witnessing a hazardous challenge in front of us and that is of creating a fake narrative. Now-a-days, a section of the media first creates a narrative among the target audience and then disseminates information which are spoon-fed to them instead of investigating things on the ground level and presenting facts. Everyone around tend to believe whatever they learn from the media. GIA is an effort to present a different and fact-based narrative to the people.